Man Sentenced for Illegal Asbestos Removal

An asbestos-abatement employee was sentenced to one year in prison for illegally removing asbestos-containing material.

A man was sentenced to one year in prison on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno for illegally removing asbestos-containing material from residential buildings.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno said Gus Serrano of Rialto, Calif., knowingly violated the Clean Air Act by removing the material at the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, Calif.

Serrano was the on-site supervisor of a southern California asbestos-abatement company, Asbestos Consulting Technicians Technology, which was conducting asbestos removal under a federal government contract.

Serrano and other persons working under his direction violated numerous asbestos removal work practice standards in February 1997, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

EPA said Serrano and his workers failed to adequately wet the asbestos before removing it and ensure that no visible emissions occurred as a result of the removal.

Inhaling asbestos fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease called "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, which is cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities.

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